(UPDATE: Nobel laureate and political reformer Mohamed ElBaradei has arrived in Cairo, promising to join the protests demanding change in Egypt and offering to lead a transition.)
Mohamed ElBaradei, a Nobel laureate and political reformer, plans to return to Egypt Thursday as the country sees some of the strongest protests against President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule in recent memory.
ElBaradei, considered the most high profile opponent of the Mubarak regime, called on Egyptians to participate in the protests.
He told Newsweek on the eve of his return that despite U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's assessment that Egypt is "stable," the country now only sees "pseudo-stability" because "real stability only comes with a democratically elected government."
ElBaradei currently lives in Vienna and is the former head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Egypt has seen two days of protests against Mubarak and nation's grinding poverty.
The protests began Tuesday, Jan. 25, after a successful social media campaign propelled people of varying classes, ages and political affiliations out into the streets. The government cracked down on the protesters, blocked Twitter and Facebook and ruled that all future protests and political disturbances were illegal. And yet, the Egyptians did not back down.
Thousands returned to the streets Wednesday, defying the government ban.
But again, the Mubarak regime has shown it will not tolerate such intense dissent and beefed up its efforts to crack down on the protesters. Police, armed with clubs and tear gas, have arrested 860 protesters since the demonstrations began.
"The government’s effort to ban protests showed the extent to which it had been rattled by the scale of Tuesday’s demonstrations, among the largest in decades here, and focused on the central Tahrir Square," states The New York Times.
ElBaradei said Egyptians should follow the lead set by the protesters in Tunisia, who recently ousted their president, and bring about regime change in their country, according to an interview with Der Spiegel on Saturday.
"If the Tunisians have done it," he said, "Egyptians should get there too."
View these striking photographs of the protests.
Read more about the role of Twitter and Facebook in the protests.
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